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November 30, 2009


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This afternoon, Kat Martin details how a stirring romance novel gifted to her years ago helped shape the kind of fiction she writes, and directly influenced her latest holiday-themed novel, THE CHRISTMAS CLOCK.

Over the years, I’ve received dozens of books as holiday gifts: coffee table books, self-help books, non-fiction, and novels that strictly entertain.

One of those books changed my life. It was a work of fiction given to me nearly 30 years ago by a friend who had loved it, a novel written by Wilbur Smith. The name of the book was the EAGLE IN THE SKY, and it was the most dramatic, most exciting, most romantic story I’ve ever read. To this day, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. That is the power of a book.

In my case, the effects of the novel were profound though, at the time, I didn’t know it. People often ask me why I write romantic stories. As I look back, I think that maybe that single work of fiction influenced my choice of genre. Today, I’ve written more than 45 romantic suspense and historical romance novels, but even my latest, THE CHRISTMAS CLOCK --- a different sort of book for me --- is a story filled with romance. It’s about life in a small Michigan town, the story of an old woman with Alzheimer’s, and a little orphan boy.

The story isn’t long. It should have been easy for me, but as I began to write, it soon became apparent that the book was going nowhere.

“What’s missing?” I asked myself. The answer came swift and hard: romance. And so I started all over again, and, miraculously, this time the story came together. It’s a warm-hearted tale, I think, the kind of Christmas miracle we all look for in our lives.

And so when I look at THE CHRISTMAS CLOCK and think of my writing, I can’t help but remember Wilbur Smith and THE EAGLE IN THE SKY. A book can make a profound difference in a person’s life. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best gift anyone could ever receive.

-- Kat Martin

Tomorrow, Vanessa Davis Griggs explains how devouring her first book didn’t quench her hunger for literature; it expanded it.